Well, Raiders are past the halfway point for the 2013 season...what have we learned?
1. Terrelle Pryor is a wild card. A rollercoaster of decision making, with little to no consistency except for the vs. San Diego game. Right now, Pryor is riding a big time low with the loss @ New York Giants. UCLA's Brett Hundley and Clemson's Tajh Boyd are early round guys who could be in the conversation at the right pick no. selection. There are a lot of other decent trigger men who, under reasonable pocket protection, could come in and throw it better than Terrelle Pryor...probably throw fewer picks as well.
2. Jared Veldheer and to some extent, Tony Bergstrom are sorely missed. Khalif Barnes at LT and Lucas Nix at LG might be the worst left side duo in the NFL. It certainly isn't helping Pryor develop one bit...leaving him scrambling and trying to do too much. A good bet will be that Tony Sporano and Dennis Allen don't want Nix, Barnes and/or Brisiel starting in 2014...see Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson, Notre Dame's Zack Martin and Baylor's Cyril Richardson.
3. Special Team Coach Bobby April and 2nd Year Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver are outdoing themselves. Several blocked punts and field goal attempts...and with some competent return men (if Ford will ever get his head out of his rear), April could be ST Coach of the Year soon. Tarver 3:16. The defense is completely overachieving, almost to the extent that they're putting the Raiders in a position to win games with only one...ONE...competent drive a game. Honestly, if the offense were marginally more consistent this year, the Raiders could very well have won 5 or 6 games.
4. Weapons needed. While Denarius Moore and Rod Streater are solid receivers, just so long as they're not dropping every other ball thrown their way, they are by no means, go-to guys. The Raiders need a true downfield weapon for Pryor, or whatever QB, is throwing to them in 2014. Lots of talk about Clemson's Sammy Watkins or Texas A&M's Mike Evans to Oakland...and for good reason. Should Veldheer and Watson come back healthy, look for Oakland to go playmaker on offense.
5. The Manufactured Pass Rush can only go so far. The Raiders need a compliment to Lamarr Houston off the other edge. Be it through an OLB like Anthony Barr or Khalil Mack, or a straight up Defensive End like Clowney...the four-man pass rush needs to step into the mix at some point in the near future.
6. More help needed at Tight End. Rivera, Kasa and Mastrud. Not going to get you very far in the long run. Ausberry is all but gone in 2014 already. Large targets like Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins, UNC's Eric Ebron or even the strong blocking C.J. Fiedorowicz from Iowa would all be large, athletic, young additions to a sputtering TE Corps.
7...MORE GAMES TO GO. Let's see if the Raiders can squeak out a better season than 2012...
Let Defense Ring.